Not that kind of libertarian: Poll shows fondness for government programs

April 30, 2015

Is libertarianism a growing trend or a red herring?

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As this Reuters graphic shows, a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted earlier this month found that one in five Americans self-identify as libertarian, with percentages skewing higher the younger the cohort. One in three respondents aged 18-29 consider themselves libertarian, but just 12 percent of those 60 or older similarly self-identify. Additionally, 25 percent of independents consider themselves libertarian, a rate considerably higher than that of either major party.

What’s murkier is how closely libertarian self-identification tracks to actual small government initiatives. Reuters’s Amanda Becker writes that many who claim to dislike big government still support specific middle class entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, and to a lesser degree, programs for the poor, like food stamps and Medicaid.

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